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From Kinectto MakerBot 


Make Projects 

build, hack, tweak, share, discover. 

From Kinect to MakerBot 

Written By: Brian Jepson 


Kinect (1) 

MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D Printer Kit (1) 


You've got a Kinect, and you've got a MakerBot. This guide explains how to scan something 
using the Kinect, and then to print it on the MakerBot. For this guide, I used a scan I made of 
Kipp Bradford , co-organizer of the Rl Mini Maker Faire . 

It's very easy to scan something with the Kinect, but the models that you get from it are 
quite complex. This guide focuses on simplifying those models while retaining as much 
detail as possible, with the goal of making it faster to slice and print your designs. 

At the moment, these instructions are tested on the Mac. If anyone manages to compile and 
run Kyle McDonald's KinectToSTL on Windows or Linux, let me know, and I'll load it on my 
Windows or Linux machines and update this guide for that platform. 

© Make Projects Page 1 of 12 

From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 1 — From Kinect to MakerBot 

• Make sure that you have a Kinect. 

• You'll also need a Mac, at least until I figure out how to do this on Linux or Windows. 

© Make Projects 

Page 2 of 12 

From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 2 

• Download and install Kyle 
McDonald's KinectToSTL 

• Plug the Kinect into a wall outlet for 
power, and plug the USB cable into 
your Mac. 

• Run KinectToSTL and have 
someone (or something) stand in 
front of the screen 

• Drag the mouse in the view to 
rotate around. 

• Adjust the zCutoff to set the 
depth of the scan (rotate the 
mouse around to get a sense of 
how deep the scan is). 

• Use fovWidth and fovHeight to 
adjust the width and height of the 
field of view. 

• Say cheese, then click the 
checkbox to the left of "exportStl" 
to capture the subject. 

© Make Projects 

Page 3 of 12 

From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 3 






p depth 

A Kinett 

& Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 

A Kinett 


Export 201 1-08- 
Export 2011-08- 
Export 2011-08- 
Export 2011-08- 
Exporl 2011-08- 
Export 201 1-08- 
Export 201 1-08- 
Export 2011-08- 
Export 2011-08- 
Export 2011-08- 
Expon 2011-08- 
Export 2011-08- 
Export 2011-08- 

12 it 

12 at 

13 at 
13 at 
13 at 
13 at 
13 at 
13 at 
13 at 
13 at 
13 at 
13 at 
13 at 

19. 32.47. stl 
19. 33. 52. ill 
13. 00.55. 5tl 
13. 16.32, stl 
13. 25.48, stl 
14. 59.41. SI] 
15. 30.38. stl 
15. 10.35. stl 
16. 13. 29, stl 
16. 31.07, stl 
16. 51. 35. stl 

Date Modified 
Aug 12, 2011 
Aug 12, 2011 
Aug 12, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 
Aug 13, 2011 

7:33 PM 
7:32 PM 
7:33 PM 
1:00 PM 
1:16 PM 
1:25 PM 
2:59 PM 
3:30 PM 
4:09 PM 
4:10 PM 
4:13 PM 
4:31 PM 
4:51 PM 
4:51 PM 

217 KB 

5.9 MB 
7 MB 

3.3 MB 
10.1 MB 

6.5 MB 
6.5 MB 
3.2 MB 
10.3 MB 
7.S MB 

8.4 MB 

17.5 MB 

15.6 MB 
17.5 MB 


Portab... image 
5TL 3D model 
STL 3 D model 
STL 3 D model 
STL 3D model 
5TL 3 D mode: 
5TL 3 D mode 
5TL 3 D model 
STL 3D model 
STL 3D model 
STL 3D model 
STL 3 D mode; 
STL 3D mode 
STL 3D mode 

• There is a data/ subdirectory in the 
same location that the KinectToStl 
app lives. Look in this directory for 
the most recent file. 

• The file will have a name like 
"Kinect Export 2011-08-13 at 
16.51. 53.stl" 

• Move this file to another folder 
(wherever you want to save it for 
future use) and give it a 
meaningful name (maybe the 
name of the person you 

© Make Projects 

Page 4 of 12 

From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 4 

A A A A A! 


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Open » A ^^^_ 
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Cet Info 

Compress "kipp.stl" 

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Make Alias 

Quick Look "kipp.stl" 

Copy "kipp.stl" 

Clear Up Selection 
Show View Options 


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New Email With Attachment 

^^*^^ ma ^^V m ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^adif to send 
App Stare... 


• You've got your scan, but if you try to print it now, it's going to take forever. Let's 
simplify it. 

• Download and install Meshlab .an open source program for working with 3D meshes. 

• Quit meshlab if you already have it running. 

• Right-click the STL file you got from KinectToStl, and choose Open With>meshlab. 

• When meshlab opens, it will pop up a dialog box with an option to Unify Duplicated 
Vertices selected. 

• Mutter "whatever, dude" under your breath and click OK. 

• You should see your subject appear in the meshlab window. 


© Make Projects 

Page 5 of 12 

From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 5 



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Target number of faces 103146 

Percentage reduction (0..1) : j .7^] 

Quality threshold Q.3 | 

P res-eve Boundary of the mesh 

Preserve Normal 

Preserve Topology 
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Target number of faces 103146 

Percentage reduction (0„1) ,75 

Quality threshold 0.3 

Preserve Boundary of the mesh 

Preserve Normal 

Preserve Topology 
Optimal position of simplified vertices 

Plana* Simplification 

Weighted Si mpl ifical ion 
Post-simplifkation cleanlrsg 

Simplify only selected faces 

j c 

• Click the Filters menu, then open the "Remeshing, simplification and reconstruction" menu 
and find "Quadric Edge Collapse Decimation." 

• Hover the mouse over the option, think about what an awesome name it has, then click 

• This will simplify your 3D model. You want to reduce the number of faces to something 
around 20,000. 

• Set the Percentage Reduction to .75 and click Apply. 

• Drag in the model to rotate it and inspect it. If it looks good, click Apply until you're 
close to 20,000 faces and still looking good. 

© Make Projects 

Page 6 of 12 

From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 6 

$ & &mm rm '■'' m m m , i. g ,-s - * 

O Save Current Layer 

• Now it's time to export the model. 

• Click Close to dimiss the Quadric 
Edge Collapse Decimation dialog. 

• Click File>Export Mesh As... 

• Give it a new filename (don't 
overwrite your original, since 
you've decimated a lot of original 
information), select the STL File 
Format, and click Save. 

Step 7 

Blender Window 

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♦ You could print what you have now, 
but it's likely that it's too deep, and 
what's more, there's also a big 
platform at the bottom of it. 

♦ To solve this problem, download 
and install Blender . 

♦ Run Blender, and marvel at how 
complicated the user interface is. 
Then ponder the fact that it's much 
simpler than it used to be! 

© Make Projects 

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From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 8 

• You've got a cube. We'll use this cube to chop away at the STL file. First off, let's make the 
cube real big. 

• In Blender, zoom out until the cube is a tiny dot. On the Mac, you can zoom in and out by 

• Move the cursor close to the cube and press S (to scale it). Drag until the cube fills the 
screen, then press Enter or Return. 

© Make Projects 

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From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 9 

• Next you need to import the STL file. 

• Click the File menu and choose lmport>STL In the file chooser that appears, navigate to 
wherever you saved the STL file and choose it. 

• You won't be able to see the STL file, but if you Right-Click-Drag (or Control-Click-Drag), 
you'll be able to move it to the top of the cube. 

• If you absolutely can't figure out where the heck the STL file is after you import 
it, Right-Click (or Control-Click) once on the cube, then Right-Click-Drag (or 
Control-Click-Drag) the cube around instead of the STL. 

• Your goal here is to mask out all the parts of the STL that you don't want as shown in the 
second image here. 

© Make Projects 

Page 9 of 12 

From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 10 

• Now it's time to erase the parts you don't want. 

• Right-Click (or Control-Click) on the cube to select it. 

• Shift-Right-click (or Shift-Control-Click) on the STL file. Now both objects should be 

• In the right hand side of the window, look for a tiny wrench icon and click it. 

• Click the menu that says "Add modifier" and choose "Boolean" 

• Under Operation, choose Difference. 

• Click the box-shaped icon under Object, and click Cube. Wait, possibly a minute or 
more, for Blender to think. 

• Click Apply. Wait some more. 

© Make Projects 

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From Kinectto MakerBot 

Step 11 

• Right-Click (or Control-Click) and Right-Click Drag on the cube to pull it away from the 
STL you imported. Press Return or Enter. 

• If you followed these steps exactly, you should have successfully cropped the STL file (it 
will be shorter, without a platform). 

• Right-Click (or Control-Click) the STL you just cropped to select it, and choose 
File>Export STL. Give it a new name, and save it somewhere. 

Step 12 


• Now you're pretty much ready to print! 

• Open the cropped file in Replicator G, and select the Move option, then click Center and 
click Put on Platform. 

• If you want to, select the Scale option and make your object bigger. 

• Click Generate GCode (save changes when prompted to do so), generate your GCode, 
and when you're ready, print your scan! 

© Make Projects Page 11 of 12 

From Kinectto MakerBot 

Now that you've simplified and cropped your 3D scan, you can print it on your MakerBot, in 
much less time than if you'd simply tried to print the raw scan! 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1 -02 03:00:05 AM. 

© Make Projects Page 12 of 12